Information published on 2 June 2021 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr eNews.

Belgium: RailTech Innovation Awards 2021: Infrabel wins an award for its “Franière slab”

A few months ago, Infrabel renewed four switches and one kilometre of track in just 48 hours – a world first which earned the company a 2021 RailTech Innovation Award.

  • Europe
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  • European Year of Rail
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  • News from UIC members

Limiting the impact of works on traffic is a constant challenge for Infrabel, so its engineers developed a pioneering technique. Firstly, they prefabricated a giant concrete slab (480 m x 8 m) parallel to the railway line at Franière. They then pushed the slab, fully equipped with two tracks, ballast and four switches, into its final position – like a giant Tetris game.

This operation, which would usually cause weeks of rail traffic disruption, was completed in a single weekend at the beginning of September 2020. No small feat for a structure weighing 6,100 tonnes!

The innovation won over the jury at RailTech Europe 2021, held from 30 March to 1 April. The RailTech Innovation Award in the infrastructure category was awarded to the Belgian railway infrastructure manager.

Video animation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpjwuXncU2o

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtDHDHtVbpU

(Source: Infrabel)